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Tips For Outdoor Filming Your Workouts

Tips For Outdoor Filming Your Workouts

Spring is here and people are eager to go outside and enjoy the sun. Or at least, enjoy the scenery. And that’s great for personal trainers because spring is a great season for outdoor filming!

The light is just right and blooming trees and flowers are the perfect scenery that reminds your clients that it is time to start seriously working out if they want to have a fit summer body and feel great about themselves.

In this text, you’ll find out:

  • How to choose the shooting location
  • What are the perfect weather conditions for outdoor filming and how to create them yourself
  • How to use natural lighting to your advantage
  • How to set up the sound
  • How to set up the camera(s)
  • What are the general tips for outdoor filming

1. How to choose the shooting location?

When you walk around in nature (or run, ride a bike, …) pay attention to the scenery.

Ideally, you’ll find a clean spot with enough room for you to do your workouts, without any distractions like bushes, branches, etc. that can ruin your shooting frame.

Behind that spot should be calming scenery, like a meadow, mountain, river, beach, forest, or anything else in nature you find interesting, soothing, and beautiful.

If you can find that kind of spot, don’t worry. There are a few camera tricks that can help you “create” awesome scenery.

If the scenery is a bit “messy” and has a lot going on there, use a wide aperture and zooming in. That way, the background scenery will get a bit blurred, and you will be in focus.

2. Which weather conditions are perfect for outdoor filming?

As we said before, spring is a great season for outdoor filming.

Why, you ask? Because of the lighting – it’s not too harsh and probably won’t make some weird-looking shadows on your face.

You might think that sunny weather is perfect for shooting your workout videos outside. That’s not exactly wrong if you know how to handle the sun.

But, to be sure, if you make the outside workout videos on a cloudy day, you won’t be wrong. Clouds make the best diffused light without any harsh shadows.

And the great thing about shooting on a cloudy day is that you can face whatever side you want since the light is even.

If you can’t wait for a cloudy day, make sure to find shade so you don’t squint and your client’s attention doesn’t get drawn by that.

beach workout

3. How to use natural light to your advantage?

Filming crews have a name for the best light conditions during a day – the Golden Hour.

That’s right after the sunrise or an hour before the sunset. The light at that time (around 7-10 AM and 4-7 PM – depending on your time zone and your location in the time zone) is very flattering for both personal trainers and for the scenery.

Avoid any funny-looking shadows (i.e. from tree branches) and harsh light that can make that kind of shadows.

If you can’t shoot during the Golden Hour, pick a time of the day when the sun is at 45 degrees. You should be placed between the camera and the sun. That way, the light won’t be too harsh, you will create a “halo” effect, and your clients will enjoy what they see.

If you want to control the light conditions, you might need light reflectors, which is not an expensive investment.

When you stand in between the camera and the sun, you might appear underexposed, or if the sun is in front of you, it may create more harsh shadows and you’ll squint.

Both of these setups can be improved by using reflectors and silks to diffuse or bounce the light.

Reflectors can have 5 different setups:

  • White – bouncing light
  • Black – blocks light
  • Gold – reflects warm light
  • Silver – reflects a lot of light
  • No cover – diffuses light

Before you start shooting, it would be great if you could spend a day with your equipment outside to check what works for the best. Try out those reflectors, different angles, try to stand with the sun in front of you and the back, or how your video looks like when you shoot something in the shadows.

4. Sound settings for outdoor filming

Always use a microphone.

Besides your panting, there might be a lot of other noises that could be distracting.

Wind, rivers, birds, traffic… These can all take over your video if you don’t use a mic.

A boom mic will do the work – you will be its focal point, and the background sounds are going to stay in the background enriching your video ambiance.

5. Camera settings for outdoor filming

First of all, avoid autofocus.

Since there will be a few things in your depth field, your autofocus can get confused and focus on something in the background while you are performing an exercise.

A lot of cameras nowadays come with a set of filters and picture styles.

Since it is harder to edit a video in post-production, than a photo, you should use the filters and styles to come as close to what you want your video to look like as possible.

For example, UV filters reduce glare, polarizing filters reduce reflections. And you can use styles to create a specific atmosphere.

For more in-depth camera settings, check out your camera instructions and read this blog from Cannon.

workout at sunset

6. Tips for working with two cameras

Well, you are probably already used to working with two cameras, for a better explanation of the workouts and so you can easily cut the footage you made.

When you’re working with two cameras, all of the above rules apply to both of them.

But, if you are using some reflectors, make sure to get a soothing light in both cameras. In most cases, you will place a reflector between the two cameras, so you’ll get very similar lighting on both footages.

General tips for shooting outdoors

  • Plan your workout playlist ahead
  • Charge all the batteries the day before
  • Bring an external battery
  • Check all the parts of the equipment before you head out
  • Make a plan B in case of rain or other harsh weather conditions

Wrap up
Outdoor filming is a thrilling activity that can sometimes include spontaneous funny details, like a dog pooping behind you.

Enjoy every aspect of it and get playful and creative with the sceneries and workout playlists.

Before you start shooting, spend a few days getting to know the equipment and how it behaves in different conditions.

That way, you’ll always get the best of it! And to get more video shooting tips, learn how to monetize your content, and more fitness business tips, check out the Lean On Digital blog.

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